Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z - Some Things Are Just Obvious

It's the last post of the A to Z Challenge for 2014. I tried very hard to make it something clever and unexpected. I wanted to go out with a dazzling display of musical knowledge. Yeah, that ain't gonna happen.

ZZ Top - I know. It's the obvious choice. But really, how many other good bands start with Z? I can only think of one more and I need it for another category. Besides, there aren't many bands that have kept the same lineup for over 40 years and continue to perform today. They've also had many hits over those years. My favorites? Gimme All Your Lovin' and Sharp Dressed Man.

Zoot Suit Riot (Cherry Poppin' Daddies) - I honestly couldn't remember if I liked this song or not. So I looked it up on Spotify. Wow, what an annoying sound. I'll let that one go. Maybe it will die a merciful death.

Hate to Love
Rob Zombie - I have trouble deciding if I like Rob Zombie better solo or with White Zombie. Either way, he makes some darn good music. Why do I hate to love his music? The dude is over the top creepy. I'm not entirely convinced he's not a serial killer on the weekends. I wouldn't be surprised to look in his freezer and find dead cats. Or his former band mates from White Zombie. But More Human than Human is still one of my all-time favorites.

And thus we end another A to Z Challenge. This one was definitely more difficult than last year's themeless month. I hope everyone had fun with it and hope to continue following several new blogs. Thanks for visiting this month and I'll see you around. (I promise to post more often this year than I did last year.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y - You Can Call Me Mongoose 1

Y? Because we can! Sorry, lame joke. Getting a little slap-happy this close to the end of the A to Z Challenge. This was another interesting letter because I kept finding songs that I love, or at least like very much. That makes it hard to list something for the hate and love to hate categories. But, being the intrepid blogging mongoose that I am, I searched until I found something for each category. (And got an annoying song stuck in my head. That automatically qualifies it for hate status.) I picked the top two songs I love, so you get a bonus today.

You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon) - This is my all-time favorite Paul Simon song. (That's solo Paul, not Simon and Garfunkel. Bridge Over Troubled Waters FTW). The song was cool even without the video. Add the video with Chevy Chase and it becomes a Mongoose Den Hall of Famer. Though I'm not sure I want him calling me Betty.

Yahweh You Reign (Mason Clover) - I put this song in the top two Mason Clover songs. I would have to call this one and El Shaddai numbers 1 and 1a with them trading off the top spot. Both are great praise songs that you can really dance to. Really. We dance to it every time it's played at our church services. Plus, as I mentioned in my M post, Mason is a good friend. That gives it bonus points.

You're So Vain (Carly Simon) - Normally, I wouldn't give this song much, if any, thought. It was well before my time and not anywhere close to any genre of music I typically listen to. But as soon as I came across it on my list, it started running through my head with hobnail boots, stomping on brain parts that I've come to prefer unstomped. I can't let any song get away with such activities. It sets a bad precedent for other potentially mind-numbing musical selections. Bad Carly, you're banished from the Den.

Hate to Love
You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC) - It shouldn't take much to figure out why this one gets the "hate to love" moniker. If you read A, you know how I feel about AC/DC. So it just pains me to have to admit liking this song at all. But it's one of those that I can jam to anytime I hear it. That disturbs me. I feel abused.

Unexpected Bonus Track
The Anti-Song
Yellow Submarine (Beatles) - That's right, the anti-song. This is bonus information you can't get just anywhere. Trust me, you'll want to know this and tell all your friends. What is the anti-song? I'm glad you asked. Ever get a song stuck in your head, stomping on brain parts with hobnail boots? Want to banish it forever? Sing the anti-song. A few repeated refrains of the chorus of Yellow Submarine and any nuisance song will flee the confines of your mind. The best part? The anti-song will not get stuck in its place. Warning: Do not dry-fire the anti-song. If there is no song stuck in your head, the anti-song will fill that void nicely. You've been warned.

That's it for today. Let me know what music you love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love) for Y. And yes, you can call me Al. Or Mongoose 1. Until tomorrow, Betty!

Monday, April 28, 2014

X - Uhhhh, hmmm...

I'm so ashamed. I have sat here trying to think of bands or songs or people or anything that starts with X that I can use for today's post. Guess what? There isn't much that starts with X. The only artist I can think of that I've ever heard of is Xzibit and I don't know any of his music. I do know that he's not my style. The fact that he's done songs with Snoop Dogg pretty much guarantees I won't have any familiarity with his catalog of work. I even googled bands and songs that start with X to see if I missed anything. If I did, so did everyone else. Everything that came up was a complete unknown to me. I feel so empty. I've failed at posting anything meaningful whatsoever for a letter during the A to Z challenge. So, to cheer myself up, I'm just going to give you a link to last year's X post that has absolutely nothing at all to do with music, but at least it has something to do with X. Enjoy. And if you can think of anyone or any song I've missed, let me know.

X - Xenophobia

And just for fun, I'm including a picture of a xenomorph.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W - Wake Up Weird Willie

Welcome to day W of the A to Z Challenge. What music will we be loving and hating today? Maybe everyone will have fun tonight. Or we could be going where the down boys go. It might be something else completely different. The suspense is killing me! Who could it be? Read on and find out.

Wake Me Up (Avicii, Home Free) - This one's a twofer. This is a rare song where the original and a cover reach equal status. I love the electronica original by Avicii (with Aloe Blacc). It's a great juxtaposition of Aloe's mellow singing style with Avicii's powerful dance music.

Home Free making a pure a capella version of an electronic dance song and adding their country flair sounds like all the necessary ingredients for a train wreck. But, it's Home Free. They do everything surprisingly well, including this song. I think it's one of their best. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Willie Nelson - Why do people listen to Willie? Granted, he's a good songwriter, but has anyone ever had more twang? I was taught all my life that you should not sing through your nose. Willie sounds like he's singing through his nose, the guitarist's nose, and most of the noses of the front row of the audience. He's made millions and been invited to dinner with multiple Presidents. I write a blog complaining about his voice. I think he won this round.

Hate to Love
Weird Al Yankovic - Because seriously, how can you admit to being a fan and not have the nerd label permanently tattooed to your forehead (metaphorically speaking)? If you admit to liking Weird Al, people will immediately assume that you really are White and Nerdy and hang out at the Star Wars Cantina. So yeah. I hate to love Weird Al. (But I still want a Segway!)

My apologies to Wang Chung, Warrant, and Winger. They were finalists, but they didn't quite make the cut. Maybe next time. What music does the letter W bring to your mind? And do you have a Segway you want to sell cheap?

Friday, April 25, 2014

V - Village en Vogue

It's V day in the A to Z Challenge. So let's see what we've got for today's music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). It's a good day for loving music. I've got two for you this time. Along with a first for the theme; a love to hate and a hate to love in the same post.

VAST - I first heard Visual Audio Sensory Theater, or VAST, when the song Here was used in the previews for the show Angel back in 1999. I think that and Free are the best songs he's had. That's right, I said he. VAST is primarily Jon Crosby recording all the instrumental tracks and vocals. He uses session artists for live performances. Listen to some of his music and you'll see what an impressive accomplishment it is.

Velvet Chain - Velvet Chain is known primarily as a club band in LA. They achieved their greatest fame after appearing on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and being included on the show's soundtrack. My favorite songs are Strong and Treason.

Vogue (Madonna) - I'm not a Madonna fan. I think she's only had a couple of decent songs, so I don't really listen to much of her music or generally care much. This song, though, is irritating. The video was just as bad. I thought for sure it would end her career, but no such luck. Oh well.

Love to Hate
Village People - I hate the Village People. Really. I do. I don't ever listen to any of their music. Especially YMCA and In the Navy. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. You can't prove otherwise. (No, you can't look at my iPod.)

Hate to Love
Vengeance Rising - I love the music of Vengeance Rising. Christian thrash metal at its finest. Their first two albums included brutal guitars and drums and lyrics with a strong Biblical basis. The singing was once described as sounding "like someone gargling razor blades." The songs Human Sacrifice and Mulligan's Stew are good examples. Check them out sometime. But not right before bed. Trust me.

Anyone else listen to VAST, Velvet Chain, or Vengeance Rising? Who did I miss for the letter V? Let me know. And stay away from my iPod.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U - Say Uncle

This late in the A to Z Challenge, many bloggers have already cried Uncle and run away. Many more are still here, but some are thinking of crying Uncle. So it's only fair that I have a bit of an Uncle theme to today's musical selections.

Love (Song)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Warrant) - Hair metal strikes again. I told you I really like hair bands, right? Warrant had several hits in the early 90s including Uncle Tom's Cabin. About a witness to a police involvement in a double murder, the writing style was completely different from anything Warrant had done before. I still rank it as one of their best.

Love (Band)
Uncle Kracker - I only know a few songs by Uncle Kracker, but I like the ones I know. Follow Me has a great mellow groove. Their cover of Drift Away featuring Dobie Gray is my favorite of theirs. I can listen to it anytime under any circumstances.

Until It Sleeps (Metallica) - I like Metallica. Who doesn't? But this song is just terrible. I don't know what it is about this song that's so bad, but I just can't stand to listen to it. It has a creepy sound that just makes me uncomfortable. I don't know why. I think it sounds too Lovecraftian for my tastes.

Hate to Love
Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) - Few songs have been recorded as many times by as many artists as Unchained Melody. The best version is still by the Righteous Brothers. This is the version best known for its inclusion in the movie Ghost. That's the entire reason I hate to love this song. Patrick Swayze blew it for any guys being allowed to publicly admit to liking this song. So let's just keep it between us, okay? Thanks. (Good thing everything posted on the Internet stays private.)

Anyone ready to cry Uncle? Or is everyone powering through to the end? Any other "uncle" related songs I've forgotten? Let me know in the comments. I'll even keep your secret if you have any embarrassing songs you love.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T - Throw Up Your Rawkfist!

Throw up your Rawkfist if you're feelin' it when I drop this! If that sentence makes sense to you, then you are probably a fan of the first band on today's list. If it doesn't, then you need to quickly become a fan of the first band on today's list. Let's go!

Thousand Foot Krutch - Also known as TFK, this Christian rock band from Toronto mixes hard rock, hip hop, rap, and pop to make a sound that is unique and immediately identifiable. On a single album, they will make you think of Linkin Park, James Bond, and Nine Inch Nails, yet still sound distinctly like TFK. And just when you think you have them figured out, they sing live with Carrie Underwood! How cool is that?! Let the sparks fly, baby!

Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines. Enough said. OK, a little more to say. Could he be trying any harder to prove he's not gay? Come on, dude. Too much.

Hate to Love
The Tide is High (Blondie) - Everything about this song means I should hate it. It's the wrong genre. It's almost whiny sounding. It's from the wrong end of the 80s. And yet, every time this song comes on the radio, you can bet I'll be butt dancing in my seat. My apologies if that was you in the other lane.

Throw up your rawkfist and let the sparks fly, baby! See you tomorrow with some more musical tidbits.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S - Set Fire to the Dogg

It's time for S and we're still plugging along, coming up with music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). Today we've got a wide range of styles to showcase. As you've seen if you've been following my entries for the Challenge, I have an eclectic taste in music. Therefore, I couldn't come up with just one for love today. So we've got old school and new school.

Love (Old School)
Stryper - The original Christian metal band. I know, there were others before them, but none that grabbed mainstream attention and Christian fans to the level that Stryper did. They were the first Christian artist to have the most requested song on MTV twice in a row. More importantly, they were the first concert I went to in high school. I got to see them on the To Hell With the Devil tour from the third row. I've been to other concerts since, but none as good as Stryper. That's why they deserve this spot.

Love (New School)
Skillet - One of the few hard rock Christian bands left that can pull it off. Like yesterday's band, Red, Skillet is able to rock hard with their own sound that is unmistakable. Like Stryper, they have achieved mainstream success as well. They can overpower you with songs like Monster, then turn around and give you a much gentler, but still intense sound.

Snoop Dogg - Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, Snoop Three-toed Sloth, or whatever his name is this week is not my cup of tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate, or whatever drink is this week's preferred flavor. Maybe he'd be better if he was clean and sober once in a while, but that doesn't seem to be a priority for Snoop Menagerie. I've read before that he is a musical genius. If so, I'll stay ignorant.

Hate to Love
Set Fire to the Rain (Adele) - I absolutely love this song. I like several Adele songs as a matter of fact. Unfortunately, whoever decides these things has said that liking Adele is not manly. Therefore, I have to give up man points once again. That's OK, though. It's worth the cost of a few man points to listen to Adele. In fact, she's earned a permanent spot on my writing playlist.

What do you think? Old school hair metal or new school hard rock? Or maybe a British pop/r&b powerhouse. Or are you one of those who actually understand the appeal of Snoop Veterinarian?

Monday, April 21, 2014

R - Red sings... what again?

I've only got a few minutes to get this one written, so no detailed intro. Let's get started.

Red - Red is one of the few Christian bands these days that really know how to rock out. I prefer hard rock and metal, so I have trouble finding a lot of Christian music I can really jam to. Red knows how to bring the hard stuff but stay on-message. I like that about them. What is my favorite song by Red? I have no idea. I can't name a single song of theirs. I'll know it when it comes on the radio, though. They rock.

Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Shoot Me! It was a fun song when it first came out. It had a good beat and you could dance to it. Then the radio DJs killed it. And the video VJs. And everyone at the mall singing it 'cause it was stuck in their head. This may be the most overplayed song of all time. I'm pretty sure it was talk radio!

Hate to Love
Rammstein - As I said, I love heavy metal and hard rock. So it stands to reason I would really dig German industrial music. Well, I don't know about that, but I do love Rammstein's music. Why do I hate that? Because they make Queen look normal. These guys are insane. But I guess I should expect that from German anarchists.

Who do you love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love)? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q - Long Live the Queen!

Have you ever sat and tried to think of bands and songs that start with Q? It's not as easy as it sounds. What does that mean for the A to Z Challenge? It means this may be a shorter post than usual. So let's get it over with.

Quiet Riot - That's right. We're going old-school hair metal again. What can I say? I'm a child of the 80s. It's hard to decide which song is my favorite. The hard hitting and spelling challenged Cum on Feel the Noize? Or the driving, screaming, and spelling challenged Mama Weer All Krazee Now? There's also the in-your-face Metal Health. Or just maybe the less popular, but musically superior The Wild and the Young. Ah, who cares. They all rock. Bang your head, my friends!

Runner-up - Queensryche - Overall a better band. Musically far superior to Quiet Riot. And I absolutely LOVE Geoff Tate's voice.

Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) (Doris Day) - It's an old, old school classic. It's been used in movies, TV, theater, and played hundreds of thousands of times on radio. And I absolutely hate it. I don't know why, it just really grates on my nerves. Sorry Doris.

Hate to Love
Queen - I'm a Queen fan. I like most of their music in every different format they had. It seems like every album was a different style. Sometimes they changed styles multiple times in a single song. How many styles can you find in Bohemian Rhapsody? Why do I hate to love Queen? Simply put, they're weird. And none more than Freddie Mercury. Civilized people would never encourage someone of such clear lunacy. But we do. And I'm glad of it. Who else wants to ride their bicycle?

Now you know what I think. Tell me your thoughts. Would Quiet Riot be as good if they could spell? Do you ever sit in Silent Lucidity? Do Fat Bottomed Girls really make the rockin' world go 'round? I want to know.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P - Push a Dancer in Paradise

We're already to letter P in the A to Z Challenge. Today, we've got a variety of musical styles. In fact, we've got two styles in a single category. Let's get started.

Plumb - I've been a fan of Plumb for over 15 years. From her start in Christian music in the late 90s, through her more secular music in the middle of the last decade to her return to Christian music with her most recent album. I got to see her in concert for the first time last month at Winter Jam. It was worth the wait.

Paradise City (Guns N' Roses) - On the other end of the spectrum is one of GNRs best songs. This is stadium rock at its best. Wailing guitars, driving rhythms, and the one of a kind voice of Axl Rose. Take me down...

Private Dancer (Tina Turner) - What is up with this song? Are we glorifying prostitution now? Am I missing something? I'll pass on this one. It also just sounds terrible. Not Tina's best work.

Hate to Love
Push It (Salt-N-Pepa) - Granted, this is not exactly musical excellence. It barely qualifies as musical averageness. (Hey, I just typed it so it's a word.) Sometimes, though, you just have to embrace the sheer fun of the music. It's got a beat and you can dance to it. And it doesn't have to be a private dance.

Tell me who you would put in each category. Do you prefer music with a message or just something you can shake your butt to?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O - Ode to Flow

Oooooklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. It would make sense for someone from Oklahoma to include this song on a list of songs I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). However, I'm not known for always making sense. Rogers and Hammerstein, you're out of here. So let's see who did make the list.

Ode to Joy (Beethoven) - The oldest song so far this month, there's a pretty good chance it will retain that crown through to the end. Rivaled only by his Fifth Symphony, Ode to Joy is probably the best known and most requested Beethoven piece of all time. How big is it? It was featured in Die Hard. That's how big. Fifth Symphony, you're gone.

Open Your Heart (Madonna) - Not that I was ever a big Madonna fan, but this song was definitely the beginning of the end for any credibility she had in my view. It just went downhill from here.

Hate to Love
Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) (Enya) - Just when I've had enough time to regenerate some testosterone after the last loss of man points, I admit once again to being a fan of Enya. What can I say, she can lay down a chill groove with the best of 'em. Sail away my friends, sail away.

Any other Beethoven fans? Fifth or Ninth Symphony? Let me hear your opinion in the comments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N - Porcupines on Fire

We're beginning the second half of the A to Z Challenge. That's right, 13 letters down, 13 to go. Today we are on the 14th letter, N. So let's get this thing coasting down the backside of this hill.

Newsboys - They've been around a long time and are basically Christian music royalty at this point. Signing former DC Talk member Michael Tait as their new lead singer a couple of years ago only added to their status. I got to see them live last month at Winter Jam. They put on a great show. You can see them performing in concert in the movie God's Not Dead. Can't wait to see that one.

Nightwish - Today's post gets another bonus band. Nightwish is one of my go-to bands when I'm writing. I got introduced to them by fellow writer Rebekah Loper (check out her blog here). She recommended them my first year participating in NaNoWriMo. They've been a large part of my writing playlist ever since.

New York, New York (Frank Sinatra) - Old Blue Eyes can sing. No doubt about it. He deserves to be considered one of the all-time greats. But I would cover my ears with a burning porcupine to avoid hearing this song. Having to play it when I was in the basketball Spirit Band at OSU didn't make it any more tolerable. Where were the porcupines then?

Love to Hate
Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley) - The Rick-roll song itself. I have to admit that I liked this song when it first came out in the 80s. It wasn't terrible then. Now? Yeah, it's bad. It's been played to death, turned into a joke on the Internet, and basically destroyed any credibility that Rick Astley may have ever had. So now I hate it. But since it's an internet meme, I kinda like hating it.

Who have you seen in concert recently? Writers, who do you listen to when writing? Ever been rick-rolled? Let me know in the comments. And if you see any porcupines on fire, it's just me avoiding Frank again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M - MmmNo!

Welcome to today's entry in the A to Z Challenge, music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). This one is being posted a little late due to being too busy preparing to host Passover for 50 people on Monday night. Sundown Monday began the first day of Unleavened Bread (a Sabbath) and I don't post on Sabbaths, so here we are getting it done late on Tuesday. Don't worry, we'll be back on track tomorrow.

Mason Clover - Odds are that most people reading this post have never heard of Mason Clover. He is a Messianic singer and worship leader. He also happens to be a good friend of mine. I don't get to see him often enough with him living in Tennessee, but hopefully that will change soon. Check him out on Spotify sometime. I recommend El Shaddai and Yahweh You Reign.

Metallica - I decided to also add a more mainstream band to today's post. It's hard not to mention Metallica. Although their newer music doesn't compare to the older stuff. Master of Puppets and the Black Album are the pinnacle of Metallica.

Marilyn Manson - I can't find any redeeming qualities to mention here. Won't listen to him, won't watch him, don't want anything to do with him. Moving on.

Love to Hate
MMMbop (Hanson) - How did this song ever become popular? How did a group of brothers from Tulsa with good voices and at least some singing ability manage to release something like this? Those were dark days for my hometown area. Dark days indeed. Strangely enough, their later stuff was actually much better musically and lyrically, and yet no one will buy it. Hmm...

Monday, April 14, 2014

L - Can You Lick a Limp Bizkit?

I learned that there are a lot of songs and bands that start with L that I like very much. There are very few that I hate. That makes today's entry much more difficult than some. Since there are so many that I love, I am doing subcategories within the category today.

Love the Name
Limp Bizkit - One of the greatest band names of all time. I don't know what it means, but it's a lot of fun to say isn't it? And some of their music is pretty good, too.

Love the Band (Small Catalog)
Lynyrd Skynyrd - By small catalog, I mean a small number of their songs that go in the Love category or that have made them a household name. When you think Lynyrd Skynyrd, you automatically think "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". There aren't that many more songs of theirs that are household names. But that's OK, because they make the most of those two.

Love the Band (Large Catalog)
Linkin Park - They manage to make album after album with great songs. Granted, they don't all become household names or megahits like "Sweet Home Alabama", but they've managed to sell out arenas and keep and ever-changing song lineup for years. Not to mention hangin' out with Autobots. That's worth some serious bonus cool points.

Livin' on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) - It doesn't matter if you like 80s music or hair bands. If the statistics are any indication, you probably liked (or still like) this song. It was chosen as the greatest song of the 80s by VH1. It was one of the most played songs of all time on radio.

Lady Gaga - Must I explain why? Yeah, thought so.

Hate to Love
Lick it Up (KISS) - Why do I hate to love this song? Well, see letter K for a quick answer. The same reasoning applies. But I do love the song. Definitely in their top 10 all time.

Told you this one would be heavy on the love and light on the hate. Maybe tomorrow we can get back to a more balanced list. We'll see. Until then, let me know of any L music I missed.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K - Kisses!

It's letter K in the A to Z Challenge. How many people do you think are writing something about kisses? I put the over/under at around 400ish. Just because I read several blogs last year that mentioned kisses in some way. It seems like some letters just don't have the originality of others. Why can't people think for themselves? Why must we all have the same ideas like this? Why?! It's time for someone to step out and do something different. So here you go. Something different.

Christian Kane - Christian Kane is better known for his acting than his singing, but he's actually quite good at both. He first gained popularity as Lindsay McDonald on Angel, which was one of my favorite shows at the time. He later returned to the small screen in Leverage as Eliot Spencer. Every role I've seen him play, he's just oozed cool. Enough to make me forgive him for going to the University of Oklahoma. (OU sucks! Go Pokes!) But that has nothing to do with music, so let's talk about his singing. He sings Southern Rock and just sounds like he's having a good time doing it. If you haven't heard him, check him out. You'll thank me.

Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer) - The first couple of times I heard this song, I liked it. Then the DJs on the radio liked it apparently. So they played it often. Other people heard it and liked it, so they played it even more often. And just as the song reached complete overkill and former fans of Sixpence were cursing them, their families, their dogs and their family's dogs, the radio station geniuses increased the airings to levels previously reserved for shyster lawyer commercials and erectile dysfunction ads. With similar results in popularity.

Hate to Love
KISS - I'll admit, I'm a KISS fan. I hate to admit that because I'm not a fan of their lifestyle or the message they tend to promote with their music. When I was younger, it didn't bother me too much, but as I've gotten older and have kids I prefer more family-friendly fare. But I still like to listen to some of their better songs. Rock and Roll All Nite, Heaven's on Fire, I Love it Loud. That's some good stuff. Interestingly, it seems that Gene Simmons - the most notorious of all the band members - has actually gotten pretty conservative in his outlook on many topics these days. I guess getting older and having a family has affected him some too.

There you go, something original for K that doesn't have anything at all to do with kisses or kissing or anything related to kisses or kissing. Oh wait... never mind. I give up.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J - Take a Journey, Johnny. You Freak!

It's time for J in the A to Z Challenge. For any new readers, my theme is music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). Today, we're going to jump right into the list.

Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry) - Just beating out Jesus Freak and Journey, this is THE iconic Chuck Berry song. Sure, he had some other good ones - Maybelline, Roll Over Beethoven - but nothing has stood the test of time like Johnny B. Goode. Based on Chuck's life, the clearly enunciated lyrics and classic 50's guitar work made it an instant classic. And to think, we owe it all to Marty McFly for playing in front of Chuck's cousin Marvin.
It's a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes, and try to keep up.
Judas Priest - Another metal band from roughly my era of music. (Though just a few years before I really got into rock music). Despite being a metal head myself, I never liked Judas Priest. I don't know if it's their name or just the fact that I don't think they were that good, but I can't listen to them much. While not as terrible as most of the Hate bands and songs I've selected this month, they are still bad enough to make the list.

Love to Hate
Justin Bieber - How could he not make the list? I didn't have a spot open for B, so he gets listed by his first name. Can we please deport him back to Canada? Please? Now. Immediately. Right away.

Who do you love or hate that starts with J? Let me know. To my good friend Stan: Sorry, Joan Jett didn't quite make the cut.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I - I Believe I Heard Rock n Roll

It's day nine of the A to Z Challenge. That means we're up to letter I. As you may have noticed lately, for some of these letters it's hard to come up with just one song or artist. Well today, I've narrowed it down to two that I love. Will it be "I Love Rock n Roll" by Joan Jett or "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister? It's a close one this time. Who could it be? How can I possibly choose between these two? Who will be crowned the king of "Rock" songs I love (for the letter I)? Scroll down to see.

Imperial March (Star Wars) - We have a spoiler! While both songs are great and deserving of being very high on my list, they just aren't intergalactic. Only one song makes you fear for the safety of the entire planet whenever it plays. Will he blow it up with a Death Star? Will he freeze a loved one in carbonite? C'mon it's Darth Vader's theme song. How can it possibly get any cooler than that?

I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly) - I believe you can shut up and go away! Enough said.

Love to Hate
I Heard it Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) - Sorry, Mom, but this song is terrible. OK, maybe not terrible, but it is awfully annoying. Maybe it's just because it was overused in all the California Raisin commercials back in the 80's or 90's or whenever it was. I don't think it bothered me until I heard it all the time.

What do you think? Is Darth Vader the king of theme songs? Or the Dark Lord of theme songs? Do dancing raisins make you want to burn Marvin Gaye records in protest? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H - Home is a Place in California?

At this point, I've pretty much given up on having any man points left by the end of the month. I've given out too many dirty secrets about liking chick songs, so I might as well continue that today. But first, I must get to the Love and Hate categories. I could have listed many different H bands for Love: Heart, Hootie and the Blowfish, Huey Lewis & the News. OK, where are all the manly bands that start with H? Seriously! How about songs? Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue, Heaven's On Fire by KISS, Here by VAST. Yeah, that's better. But, none of these made the top of the list. Here we go.

Home Free - Winners of season 4 of The Sing-Off, Home Free is (as far as I know) the world's first a cappella country group. I know what you're thinking. A cappella AND country? Can I also get a lobotomy AND dysentery? But wait, don't judge it 'til you've heard it. We watched The Sing-Off this year for the first time, just because it came on after another show we were watching and I was too tired to change the channel. (True story.) We watched a few groups and were mildly impressed. Then we saw Home Free. Whoa. Turns out they've been around a while, but never really got beyond a small following and lots and lots of cruise ship performances and county fairs. That's changed now. As if the $100,000 and a recording contract and huge exposure weren't enough, they also got my two daughters as their number 1a and 1b fans. Don't ask me which is which, I have no idea. They call themselves Home Free Freaks, or Home Freaks for short. In fact, my older daughter is blogging about them today. Check it out here. When I get home from work everyday, I can be sure I'm going to hear Home Free playing somewhere in the house. Every, single, day. And you know what? I'm OK with that. 'Cause Home Free is awesome.

Hotel California (The Eagles) - You want to run me out of a room, store, county, or spatial plane? Start playing this song. I have literally left a store because this song started playing over the PA system. Every song or band I've listed so far this month pales in comparison to the soul-rending journey of despair that I trudge whenever I hear this unholy life-sucking musical catastrophe. Are you getting an idea of how much I hate this song? Just a little? Multiply that by 10.

Hate to Love
Heaven is a Place on Earth (Belinda Carlisle) - I really do have testosterone, I swear! Thank goodness I'm already married with children, cause this challenge would definitely kill my chances of getting a date.

And that does it for today's music that I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). What will tomorrow bring? Will man points continue to flee the area like harp seals running from a walrus? Will you find a band or song that you love as much as a walrus loves a big fish and seal buffet? Will I stop using the word walrus so much? I don't know. Come back tomorrow and see.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G - God and George Thorogood

Things got a little interesting when trying to come up with today's music. I was having trouble coming up with a band or song that I love that starts with G. Then I found a whole set of songs that all fit and I couldn't decide between them. So I'm cheating a bit on this one and going with a several songs that share a theme. Don't worry, I got back on track with the other categories.

God... - I know what you're thinking. I just picked all songs about God and called it a day. Not quite. These songs are all Christian songs, but the titles all start with God. In no particular order, here is your list.

  • God (Rebecca St. James) - In my opinion, still her best song ever. And that's high praise since I really like Rebecca's music.
  • God is in Control (DeLaRay) - The only song I've ever heard by him. Hip hop with a positive message. Who'd a thunk it?
  • God is Not a Secret (Newsboys) - You can definitely hear the strong Toby Mac influence in this one.
  • God's Not Dead (Like a Lion) (Newsboys) - Another great song by a great band. Inspired an entire motion picture.
  • God-Shaped Hole (Plumb) - What can I say, I like me some Plumb.
Goin' Back to Cali (LL Cool J) - What was he thinking? How can you follow up "Mama Said Knock You Out!" Where is the attitude? The swagger? The entire LL Cool J-ness of it all? Very disappointing. Sometimes when I'm watching NCIS: Los Angeles, I can't help hearing this song in my head. It makes me want Sam to get hit by a bus. Or G to pimp slap the bejeezus out of him and say "That's for Goin' Back to Cali!"

Love to Hate
George Thorogood and the Destroyers - Bad to the Bone? No, just bad. Terrible. Soul-stealingly dreadful. Here's a hint. If you have to tell people you're bad to the bone, you're not. I don't even know if they ever had any good songs. I couldn't get past this one. In my head, puppies cry every time this song plays. George, please tell the Destroyers to destroy that song. And then bury it. Bury it with a shovel and then bury the shovel.

Alright,  you all know the drill. I showed you mine, you show me yours. Music, that is. In the comments. Don't show me anything else. This is a family blog.

Monday, April 7, 2014

F - I'm Free... Aaghhh!

After two posts having trouble narrowing things down, I actually had quite a bit of trouble with the letter F. It took a while to come up with something for each category. Of course, after I finalized my choices, I began to think of others that would also work, but that's how it goes sometimes. Oh well.

Faith No More - This one makes the list on the strength of one song; Epic. In fact, that's the only song of theirs that I can name. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the only song anyone can name. But, when one is that good and becomes such an instant classic, do you need more?

Free Fallin' (Tom Petty) - I am not a fan of Tom Petty. I don't think I have ever liked more than one of his songs. Most, I just don't care about one way or the other. But Free Fallin' just bugs me. It sounds like a bag of cats trying to serenade an irritated wolverine. While drinking. Heavily.

Hate to Love
Fighter (Christina Aguilera) - OK, at this point I'm hemorrhaging man points. Before this challenge, I didn't realize just how many songs I like that are less than manly. Oh well, it's too late to deny it now. I like this song. It's the best song Christina's had since Genie in a Bottle.

Any other F songs or bands like can name? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E - Eagle Eyes

If you are here visiting from the A to Z Challenge, welcome! today's letter, as you well know, is E. If you are not visiting from the A to Z Challenge, welcome! For an explanation of the challenge, go here.

Here we go with E.

Enya, no wait... Evanescence, no... Enter Sandman! Just like yesterday's post, I had trouble narrowing it down to just one answer for this one. Enya is great when you just want to chill out and relax. Mellow music for escaping the hectic, frantic, stressful normality of the typical day. Evanescence... strangely NOT the opposite. How can a band with such grinding guitars and slamming drums still be relaxing? I don't get it, but I'm not complaining. I can listen to them for hours. What about when I don't want to relax? That's what Enter Sandman is for. A permanent fixture on the list of greatest Metallica songs. Try to listen to it without getting your groove on. I don't care if you like Metallica or not, you gotta love that intro.

The Eagles - Who decided that the Eagles were a good band? Who inflicted this auditory debacle on mainstream America? Similar to my hate for A, I don't get the popularity. And Hotel California? WTF, mate?! Pardon my language. That song eats my brain and uncovers the inner animal... and the outer animal. And every other animal that wants to destroy whatever is making that unnatural demon-howl.

Hate to Love
Eyes Without a Face (Billy Idol) - It just ain't right! No one should enjoy a song that creepy. But I do. I don't know why. Watching the video just makes it worse. I like Billy Idol, but there are so many reasons to dislike this song. But I can't. I love it. Maybe I heard it while in animal mode after listening to the Eagles and it imprinted onto my inner mindless beast. It's as good an explanation as any, I guess.

What songs or artists do you love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love)? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D - Dirty Turn Darling

A to Z Challenge Theme - Music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love).

It's D-Day at the A to Z Challenge. So let's get started with today's list.

I had a hard time narrowing this one down. I thought about Dokken, one of the great hair bands of the '80s. Or Def Leppard, a Hall of Fame band if there ever was one. How about Darling Violetta? Lesser known, unless you are a hardcore Buffy and Angel fan. Then you'll know them for the Angel theme song in this post. So I'll just stick with today's band I love, Disciple. Disciple is a Christian rock band that's been around since the 90's. They have been able to do what few bands could. They have managed to change musical styles to stay current while still maintaining their own distinct sound. One of their best songs just happens to also start with D. Dear X (You Don't Know Me)

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - Why do I hate this song so much? Well, if you read my A post, you'll have a pretty good idea. I am not an AC/DC fan at all. I don't like listening to any of their music, but this song just annoys me to no end. The less said about this one, the better.

Hate to Love
Don't Turn Around (Ace of Base) - This again links back to my A post. Man points are going negative at this point, but I just love this song. It's one of those few songs that get stuck in my head without driving me insane. This song was popular when I was in college. Back then, it was a little more acceptable to admit to liking it, even if you aren't of the fairer sex. Today? Not so much. But it will be our little secret, right?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C - Cowboy Music Anyone?

Today's post for music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love) has it's own mini theme. All are cowboy  or country music. I didn't plan it that way, it just happened. That must mean the list is dead-on accurate. Right? Let me know in the comments.

Chris LeDoux - Chris LeDoux was cool without even trying. He didn't go out of his way to be noticed, or to shock his audience, or to make the world look at him and tell him he was cool. He just got on stage and had a great time entertaining his fans. I think he entertained himself just as much. My favorite Chris LeDoux memory? Living 1/4 mile from the Tumbleweed bar and dance hall in Stillwater, OK and getting to hear a Chris LeDoux concert for free. He always performed at the annual Calf Fry at the outdoor arena. Being so close, we could hear the whole concert sitting in our driveway. (No calf fry eating required.)

Johnny Cash - I know I'm stepping on some toes with this one. After all, he's the "Man in Black". He's a country music legend. He was cool before country was cool. So what? I still don't like his voice. If anyone sounded like him today, they would never get a recording contract. Sometimes, the music has to rank higher than the "cool".

Love to Hate
Anyone named Cyrus - I don't care if it's Billy Ray or Miley. If they come on, the radio goes off. I'll admit I kinda liked Achy Breaky Heart when it first came out. Mainly because it was fun to dance to and only got better after a few drinks. Now? Not enough vodka in all of Russia. Or Ukraine. Do they still have vodka in Ukraine or did Putin annex it all?

That's all for today. What songs or bands do you like for the letter C? Leave me suggestions below. I might even respond and let you know why your opinion is wrong different from mine.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: Procrastination

Welcome to my first monthly post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month writers all over the world band together to support each other and commiserate over those things that make us all insecure at one time or another.

This month I will be discussing one of my biggest problems as a writer: procrastination. I've spoken with enough other writers to know that I am not alone. I have come to believe that procrastination is a leading cause of stillborn novels, short-stories, novellas, blog posts, etc. Just about any type of writing can be stopped before it starts simply because the writer puts it off until "tomorrow". Unfortunately, if you're like me, "tomorrow" never comes. That's the main reason I have one book in first draft form, two started but never finished, and another that is simply an idea in my head. I won't even mention the short story and flash fiction ideas that keep bouncing around my skull.

I can't count the number of times I have told myself I have to write - anything, just get some words down - but I have talked myself out of it because "I'm too busy, I'll get to it later." Guess what? It's later. Sit down and write! That's why I joined IWSG. Accountability and support are great ways to kill procrastination. Or at least to injure it enough to make it back off once in a while. There are plenty of ways to force yourself to write if that's what it takes. NaNoWriMo has been the biggest blessing for me. Without it, I wouldn't even have the first draft and unfinished novels. The Blogging From A to Z Challenge is another great motivator. What helps you to fight back against procrastination and, just maybe, score the death blow? Let me know in the comments.

B - Bolton Back with a Bang?

It's B time! So let's get going with today's music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love).

Bang (Gorky Park) - The first song release in America by Russian rockers Gorky Park. The production quality was second rate, the lyrics have no subtlety, and the music sounded like a Russian Bon Jovi. You gotta love it! If I remember correctly, their album was even produced by Jon Bon Jovi. Russian hair metal? Da, comrade. Da!

Backstreet Boys - Backstreet's Back? Not if I can help it. Granted, they were very popular and very good at what they do. This isn't anything against the guys in the "band" personally. I'm sure they are all very nice people. But I just can't stand their music. It makes me want to stuff live kittens in my ears to cover up the noise. (Disclaimer of brutal honesty: I may have one of their songs on my iPod. It was a moment of weakness years ago. I promise, it won't happen again.)

Love to Hate
Michael Bolton - Do I personally hate Michael Bolton? Not really. But as a fan of Office Space, it's just mandatory.
Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks. - Michael Bolton
Two down, twenty-four to go. Will your favorite band, artist, or song show up on the list? Will they be loved or hated? Stay tuned and find out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A - Abney Park and Ace of Base

Welcome to the first post of this year's A to Z Challenge. In case you missed the Theme Reveal, I will be posting about music. Songs or bands that I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). So without further ado, or any ado whatsoever, let's begin the list.

Abney Park - I got introduced to this band when I started doing NaNoWriMo back in 2011. While not my usual style of music, I fell in love with their sound and general weirdness. A former goth band that now sings steampunk inspired music while dressed up as airship pirates? What's not to love? Although I have to admit, some of their songs are a bit creepy. Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll? Definitely a creep factor of 10.5.

AC/DC - OK, I'll admit that hate is a strong word. And I'll even admit that there are a couple of their songs that don't make me want to dig my eardrums out of my head with a spork. But overall? Could do without them. Wouldn't miss them at all if they disappeared forever. I don't get their popularity. Don't get me wrong. I love their style of music. I like most of their contemporaries. Some of whom may very well end up in the "Love" section of some later letters this month. But AC/DC? I'll pass.

Hate to Love
Ace of Base - Yeah, yeah. I know I lost man points just typing that. But I can't listen to Ace of Base without head-bobbing, toe-tapping, and butt-dancing in my chair. Turn on The Sign and I'm groovin' and movin' and generally embarrassing my wife to no end.

And that concludes our first installment of music I love, hate, and love to hate (or hate to love). Now if you'll excuse me, I think Ace of Base is playing on Spotify!